Digital Cities - Practice Lead/Director


About the Company

Our client is a large, multidisciplinary professional services firm that delivers a comprehensive range of technical and strategic services, including consulting, information technology, engineering, process development, as well as project and construction management to the Metals, Energy and Infrastructure sectors. Recently, our client has created a new service sector focused on Digital solutions for industries, utilities, and cities.

Over the past several years, there has been a literal explosion of interest in the digital transformation of cities, utilities, and industries. Significant reductions in the cost of sensors and processors coupled with the rise of cloud-based computing and “big data” analytics will make it possible to transform the infrastructure of cities into an information-rich network that tightly integrates people, processes, and technologies. This paradigm will transform the manner in which cities and industries are planned, managed, operated and maintained.

Within its Digital Sector, our client leverages the revolutionary opportunities afforded by unprecedented levels of global digital connectivity and access to data. It will utilize emerging digital technologies and data analytics to support its clients in addressing complex challenges associated with increased urbanization and population density, enhanced requirements for service delivery to their populations, lifecycle management of aging infrastructure, increased regulation, a focus on resource conservation and the impacts of climate change.

Scope of Position

The Smart Cities Council estimates that the global market for products and services focused on the digital transformation of cities will exceed $1.56T by 2020. To respond to this transformational market direction, our client is seeking a Digital Cities Practice Leader who can shape these exciting outcome-driven, public and private initiatives.  The successful candidate will be an entrepreneurial thought leader and a demonstrated visionary in urban planning and smart technologies. Further, they will have a portfolio of successes in converting ideas into substantive projects.

The role calls for someone who knows what makes big cities tick and how both technologies and innovation can be deployed to best effect; an integrative thinker who is comfortable with many business models; a builder rather than an implementer. Working with the company’s full complement of capabilities, the practice leader will give identity and drive growth utilizing the firm’s unique abilities for disruptive thinking, technology and business case driven solutions to enhance cities.

Digital Cities is a nascent business within our client’s overall portfolio and will call for a leader who knows how to create a vibrant business by exploiting all potential routes to revenue; from early business consulting to assist clients in planning their digital transformation, through the provision of transformative, monetized “proof of concept” demonstrations of technology, to full-blown bespoke end-to-end technology solutions to address key shortcomings in their existing solutions and eventually, the creation Digital Cities product offerings.

The goal will be to leverage our client’s deep subject matter expertise in all elements of cities and infrastructure (e.g., airports, transportation and logistics, highways and bridges, ports transit systems, water management, and urban planning and development) to create high value offerings that apply best-in-class digital technologies such as the internet of things (IoT), cloud computing, big data, data analytics and cyber-security applications to create high value solutions for their clients’ key operational challenges.

Functional Tasks

  • Work with the senior management team to develop, refine and implement the strategic direction for the Digital Cities practice. This will include developing and focusing the strategic and technology roadmaps and market plans with the goal of expanding and improving market penetration, and enhancing competitive positioning;
  • Work closely with the Global Urban Solutions Business Unit and its clients to identify and develop opportunities;
  • Work closely with the other practice leads within the client’s Digital Sector to ensure tight alignment of strategies, technologies, people, and processes;
  • Given the emerging nature of the Digital Cities practice, the successful candidate will have demonstrated expertise in conceiving and implementing end-to-end digital solutions and will have demonstrated entrepreneurial or “a start-up mindset” in past engagements;
  • The successful candidate with have expertise with an Agile solution development model and will have demonstrated its effective use on past cities and infrastructure projects;
  • Building and developing the Digital Cities practice through internal and external recruitment of the best talent and through ongoing team development;
  • Provide ongoing direction, performance management and developmental support to the Digital Cities Team. Continue to build world-class capabilities;
  • Focus the team to accelerate and drive the growth of the business, new market penetration and development, sector leadership and profitability;
  • Ensure that the Digital Cities practice is fully aligned with the objectives and direction of the corporation;
  • Aligning the culture, values, metrics and governance of the Digital Cities practice to those of the overall organization;
  • Report regularly and proactively to the Digital Sector Leader on results and plans going forward;
  • Champion the group's interests to major customers and internal stakeholders;
  • Lead the expansion of the practice and brand into new customers and markets. Engage with strategic stakeholders in those customers;
  • Remain abreast of the industry, competitors and technology trends with a view to ensuring that the firm's services best align to market needs.
  • Ensure that all alliance, acquisition, and investment opportunities are considered and the most attractive, pursued;
  • Serve as an ambassador for the group representing it at conferences, speaking engagements, and other external industry-related events;
  • Where possible, leverage relationships and projects to the benefit of other divisions and the organization as a whole;
  • Use Digital Cities opportunities and pursuits as a mechanism to drive the growth of the firm’s other business practices, where synergies can be achieved.

Key Performance Deliverables

In light of the identified responsibilities, the following are specific deliverables that the position is designed to achieve.

  • Specific measures of performance will be discussed with and agreed upon with the successful candidate but will include responsibility for the achievement of targets related to business opportunity pipeline development, order intake, backlog development, profitability of the overall business practice and generation of opportunities for other parts of the organization through cross-selling.

Competency Profile

The following competencies listed below define the role of Digital Cities Sector Leader:

Strategic Approach
Develops a strategic plan to realize the vision. Revises strategy in light of changing market forces and internal capabilities. Takes a long-term view of organizational success. Works to clarify long-term organizational goals. Able to stand back from immediate tactical issues to focus on strategic development of the business.

Imagines future possibilities, capabilities, and offerings of the Digital Cities practice. Thinks broadly and investigates a wide range of alternatives in developing a vision and roadmap for the future. Selects the most promising vision from a range of alternatives and communicates this vision to others.

Articulates the key points of an argument persuasively. Negotiates skillfully and convinces others to own point of view. Directly and indirectly impacts the decisions/opinions of others. Mobilizes people into action in support of Digital Cities initiatives

Integrity & Sincerity
Inspires trust and supports others through own authenticity and following up on commitments. Maintains high ethical standards both personally and professionally. Shows consistency in approach and actions.  

People Management
Establishes and communicates clear priorities and sense of direction. Clarifies roles and responsibilities. Adapts leadership style to each situation to achieve optimum results.

Results Orientation
Focuses strongly on achieving agreed upon outcomes and ensures that key objectives are met. Conveys a sense of urgency and drives issues to closure. Aims to improve upon past performance. Establishes aggressive personal targets and strives to achieve them.

Proactive. Seizes opportunities and acts upon them immediately. Takes responsibility for own actions and addresses problems before asked.

Customer/Client Orientation
Strives to provide customers/clients with personalized and efficient service. Anticipates customers'/clients' needs and then delivers a sales solution to meet them. Quickly follows up on customer/client contacts and complaints. Monitors and acts on measures of customer/client satisfaction.

Industry & Market Awareness
Seeks to anticipate and respond to industry and market changes/challenges by understanding key characteristics, issues and the factors driving them. Aware of competitor's products, services and position.

Incorporates information about the organization's structure and protocol into decisions. Attentive to the internal politics and alert to shifting interpersonal dynamics. Establishes the necessary support networks and cross-functional relationships through rapport building. Recognizes, maintains and effectively balances the interests and needs of one's own group with those of the broader organization.

Team Skills
Helps to create a sense of team spirit and harmonious relations through cooperation and support. Balances personal goals with those of the team. Fosters collaboration among team members.

Role Expertise
Demonstrates critical technical or professional knowledge/skills related to the role. Has a thorough knowledge of relevant products, services and methods. Expands technical knowledge/skills and keeps up-to-date in own area of expertise.

Preferred Experience / Education

The following indicates specific industry, academic and functional experience/qualifications that are important to the successful achievement of the identified responsibilities and performance deliverables.

  • Minimum of 15 years of experience in information management; in combination with an urban planning and smart technologies focus;
  • Experience in growing a P&L;
  • Proven experience in creatively applying integrative solutions to solving problems;
  • Experience working in municipal and public sector markets;
  • Knowledge of how cities deliver community services through the complete planning, delivery and operation lifecycle of infrastructure;
  • Past experience in a start-up business is an asset;
  • Strong business development and sales orientation;
  • A highly intelligent, strategically minded executive with superb communication and interpersonal skills and a willingness to roll-up his/her sleeves;
  • Strong team orientation well-suited to building consensus in a global concern;
  • Experience in building and managing distributed teams of professionals;
  • Experience with the key technology providers with world-class offerings in the Smart Cities and Infrastructure arena.
  • Proven ability to create lasting technology partnerships.

Remuneration & Benefits

  • Highly competitive, unique compensation package to the successful candidate.